SB 600 offers discounted electric rates to industrial users and manufacturers whose rates, like everyone’s, have continued to skyrocket in the past few years. However, someone is going to have to make up the cost of these discounts and, it’s not going to be the utility shareholders. It’s going to be the rest of us — residential rate payers, including seniors living on fixed incomes, as well as small businesses.
The bill is on the fast track, having cleared two Senate committees in two days, and is now on the Senate floor where it will be up for a final vote on Tuesday.
Jacqueline Roberts, director of the state Public Service Commission’s Consumer Advocate Division, told members of the Senate Energy, Industry, and Mining (EIM) Committee, “we have no idea how much this bill will cost residential and other customers, [but] with the limited information we have provided to us, [SB 600] could result in a significant increase for residential customers.”
However, prior to hearing from Roberts in EIM and later when the bill was taken up in the Senate Government Organization Committee, a staff attorney told committee members that residential customers had been represented in stakeholder meetings, and that except for AARP, all stakeholders were “in agreement” on the bill. This was blatantly false.
Senator Doug Facemire (D-Braxton) asked a lot of great questions about why and how West Virginia’s electricity rates are increasing at such an alarming rate. That’s a complex question with no easy answer, but the answer certainly isn’t passing this bill.
Yours for Action,
Team WV CAG